Quote of the day
- “Our school counsellors, our teachers, chief and council, our clergy, elders, our doctors and nurses, we’ve all come together and we’ve tried. We’re tired. We’re exhausted. The whole community is grief-stricken.” — Acting Pimicikamak Cree Nation Chief Shirley Robinson. Five people have taken their own lives in Cross Lake First Nation in the last three months. At least 18 more have attempted suicide. The community has declared a state of emergency after another 140 young adults admitted they are considering suicide .
Who’s staying and who’s going?
- Retiring: Winnipeg Police Chief Devon Clunis is retiring after 3 1/2 years on the job. Clunis, the city's 17th police chief, is making a formal announcement this afternoon. He’s been with the Winnipeg Police Service for 29 years.
- Ready to run: Conservative party leader Brian Pallister is making a case for trimming the fat in government, saying the surgery won’t hurt a bit. In fact, he goes out of his way in a meeting with the Free Press editorial board to assure Manitobans there’s nothing to fear if his party is elected in the April 19 election. This fear factor in Manitoba politics seems to have made him overly cautious in promising efficiencies that are probably overdue.
- Lemieux’s replacement: The NDP have found a replacement for Ron Lemieux in the upcoming election. Roxane Dupuis will replace veteran Lemieux as the candidate in the southern Manitoba constituency. Lemieux shocked media after musing last month that he might not run in the election despite being nominated last year. He made his decision to bow out official on March 1, citing health concerns. The seat has been held by Lemieux since 1999. Dupuis, who is the executive director of the Francophone Youth Association of Manitoba, will face off against Bob Lagasse who is running for the Progressive Conservatives and Terry Hayward for the Manitoba Liberals.
Maple leaf forever
- Official visit: The maple leaf was loud and proud at the White House this morning as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his wife Sophie Gregoire-Trudeau, arrived for the official visit. While Trudeau and U.S. President Barack Obama showed signs their friendship is real — they referred to each other by their first names and traded quips about hockey and baseball — the press conference in the Rose Garden got trumped when reporters asked several questions about what may happen to the Canada-U.S. relationship if a Republican such as Donald Trump wins the presidency next fall. Trudeau opted to be diplomatic, saying the friendship between the two countries transcends two people, but that he has faith in the American people and looks forward to working with whomever they elect. Obama on the other hand made no attempt to hide his contempt for Trump and calling the GOP nomination contest a "Republican crackup." He also said he is not to blame for what is happening within the Republican Party and that Republicans must look long and hard at their own party if they are to fix what ails it.
- Climate: The thrust of the discussions between Trudeau and Obama surrounded border security and climate change. But perhaps most interesting to many Canadians it that Obama said he had accepted an invitation to address the Canadian Parliament when he visits Canada for a Three Amigos summit with Canada, the U.S. and Mexico this summer. The last U.S. President to address Parliament was Bill Clinton in 1995. Obama visited Parliament Hill in 2009 and held a joint news conference with Prime Minister Stephen Harper but he did not address Parliament.
This and that
- Taxes: Louis Riel School Division trustees have approved a budget calling for a 5.31 per cent increase in taxes. That's an increase of $82.79 on a house assessed at $300,000.
- End solitary: The Correctional Service should prohibit the use of solitary confinement for mentally ill inmates, the prison watchdog said Thursday, as his office released its annual report. Segregation should also be limited to no more than 30 days and should not be used as an alternative to the disciplinary process, Correctional Investigator Howard Sapers said.
In case you missed it
- Be Bold: The Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce unveiled it’s Manitoba Bold campaign today. It’s hoping for a Manitoba renaissance. Shannon Sampert writes about our need for boldness.
- Not renewed: The federal Liberal government will not be renewing the appointment of Manitoba Treaty Commissioner James Wilson, the Free Press has learned. Wilson was appointed almost six years ago and reappointed twice. His current two-year term expires March 31.
- For credit: A pilot project to put reconciliation to work in Winnipeg will see a group of indigenous and non-indigenous students working at North End social and neighbourhood agencies for academic credit.
On the calendar
- School budgets: Pembina Trails school trustees hold their regular board meeting and vote on their budget this evening.
- Up for debate: Parliament continues the debate on Bill C-6, the Citizenship Reform Bill.
- Next week: He’s got a lot riding on this election, and Manitoba Premier Greg Selinger meets with the editorial board Monday at noon to talk about the NDP’s next steps as the campaign looms.
Today in history
- On this date in 1992: Parliament voted unanimously to recognize Louis Riel as "a founder of Manitoba.”
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